Gilmer County, GA
In way of background, by 1830, the Cherokee Nation consisted of most of northwest Georgia (see map), plus adjoining areas in Alabama, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Even while Cherokee Indians remained on their homeland in Georgia, the General Assembly on Dec. 21, 1830 enacted legislation claiming "all the Territory within the limits of Georgia, and now in the occupancy of the Cherokee tribe of Indians; and all other unlocated lands within the limits of this State, claimed as Creek land" (Ga. Laws 1830, p. 127). The act also provided for surveying the Cherokee lands in Georgia; dividing them into sections, districts, and land lots; and authorizing a lottery to distribute the land. On Dec. 26, 1831, the legislature designated all land in Georgia that lay west of the Chattahoochee River and north of Carroll county as "Cherokee County" (see map) and provided for its organization (Ga. Laws 1831, p. 74). However, the new county was not able to function as a county because of its size and the fact that Cherokee Indians still occupied portions of the land. On Dec. 3, 1832, the legislature added areas of Habersham and Hall counties to Cherokee County, and then divided the entire area into nine new counties — Cass (later renamed Bartow), Cobb, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, and Union — plus a reconstituted and much smaller Cherokee County. Cherokee lands were distributed to whites in a land lottery, but the legislature temporarily prohibited whites from taking possession of lots on which Cherokees still lived. By 1833, however, whites began occupying areas of Gilmer County.
Georgia's 85th county was named for George R. Gilmer, who served two terms as Georgia governor (1829-1831, 1837-1839), as state legislator, and as U.S. congressman. Gilmer — a strong proponent of state sovereignty over Cherokee lands in Georgia — was governor at the time of the Cherokee's forced removal to the west.
Modern Day Adjacent Counties